|“||Well, in simple terms, I turned you into a vampire. Now, I'm gonna condition you to feed on other vampires instead of humans.||”|
— Wes to Jesse in Total Eclipse of the Heart
Dr. Wesley "Wes" Maxfield was a professor at Whitmore College. His students described him as brilliant in spite of his arrogant teaching style. He studied all of Grayson Gilbert's research, and was aware of the existence of many supernatural creatures, including vampires, werewolves, and witches/Travelers. He was obsessed with conducting his research on vampires, and his focus was on trying to discover a way to force vampires to feed on one another to protect humans from them and eventually eradicate the species completely. Wes made his debut in Season 5 of The Vampire Diaries, during which he functioned as the primary antagonist of the first half of the season.
Not much is known about Wes' early life except for the fact he earned an MD-PhD from an unknown medical school. Wes eventually came to know about the existence of vampires while working with Dr, Grayson Gilbert and Aaron's father. At a later time, he had found a six-year-old Aaron Whitmore among his slaughtered parents at a campsite where they were staying for the weekend. After this point, he began researching vampires by experimenting on them. During the summer of 2011, after the death of Sara Whitmore, Wes became Aaron's legal guardian.
In True Lies, Wes opened his Applied Microbiology class by sharing a short history lesson with his students, encouraging them to imagine the smell of rotting corpses while they attended the bonfire later that night. He quickly called out Caroline and Elena, who had enrolled in his class on a sleuthing mission to learn why he covered up their former roommate Megan's death, and exposed them as freshmen before dismissing them from his class.
Undeterred, Elena asked Jesse about Dr. Maxfield at the bonfire party, and Jesse shared with her that there was a rumor that the professor was a member of a secret society on campus, though he knew nothing of the society or its function.
Later, Wes found Elena on campus to apologize for his behavior, insisting he only embarrassed her because he has a reputation to uphold. He revealed that he knew who Elena is, and that he had studied all of her father's work. He invited her to his office hours, and though she declined, he left the invitation open just in case.
In For Whom the Bell Tolls, Dr. Maxfield was working in the lab with Jesse when Caroline arrived to take Jesse to the Remembrance Day event in Mystic Falls. After Jesse returned to Whitmore, he checked Jesse's vitals after Jesse complained of not being able to remember what he did while he was out of town. Wes, who had just done tests on a sample of Jesse's blood, informed him that he had vampire blood in his system, and surmised that someone had been forced to heal him and compelled him to forget what happened. Before Jesse could ask him if he was actually being serious, Wes informed him that the upside was, having vampire blood in his system was the first step to creating a vampire. Wes then injected Jesse with a medication that caused him to go into cardiac arrest, killing him and putting Jesse in transition.
In Monster's Ball, it was revealed that Wes was the guardian of Aaron. He and Elena shared a dance at the Historical Ball, where he informed her that she needed to leave campus, because many of the school's employees were watching her, and knew that she and her friends were vampires. At the end of the party, he took Aaron's car keys, as he was too drunk to drive himself home. He insisted to a protesting Aaron that he cared about him, but why he was Aaron's guardian was not revealed.
In Handle with Care, Dr. Maxfield was in his lab studying when Caroline and Katherine (who was impersonating Elena) entered the lab to speak with him. Caroline tied him to a chair and drained him of his blood so they could get the vervain out of his system, though Wes was worried it will kill him. He was then compelled to forget that Elena and Caroline are vampires and told Katherine where to go to attend the Augustine meeting in order to convince them that Elena wasn't a vampire. Later on, Katherine returned to Wes Maxfield's lab after losing her tooth and admitted that there was something wrong with her and she needed his help to save her.
In Death and the Maiden, Wes was in his lab talking to Katherine about her recent problems, where he confessed that Katherine's health problems were a result of the fact that she was a 500+ year old vampire who had just been turned back into a human, and her body was aging to compensate for all the time she had been alive. Katherine demanded to know what she could do to stop it, but Wes insisted that there was nothing they could do, and informed her that she only had a few more months left if her aging continued on the rate it was going.
In Dead Man on Campus, Wes was seen still experimenting on Jesse two weeks after he had first been turned, until Wes gave him an infusion of Augustine Vampire blood, which gave him the strength he needed to break out of Wes' lab. Wes was later trapped in the lab by Damon, where he was tied up and injected with various contagious pathogens in order to interrogate him. Wes revealed that he had been working on conditioning vampires to crave vampire blood instead of human blood, thus leading the vampires to feed on each other until the species itself completely died out. He also revealed that he had succeeded in doing just that to Jesse, who was at the party being thrown by Caroline and Elena. While Damon was returning the vials of pathogens to the fridge, he noticed blood bags with various ID numbers on them, leading him to realize that Wes was a member of Augustine, the vampire-experimenting group that had held him captive several decades earlier, which Damon believed had been disbanded after that time. Wes was then able to break free and press a button that released atomized vervain gas into the room, which weakened him enough that Wes could lock him in his old cell in Whitmore House in preparation to be experimented on again.
In The Cell, Wes drugged Elena and placed her in the cell next to Damon's cell in the Whitmore House basement. Wes then revealed to Aaron the existence of vampires and how his family was aware of it. Wes gave Aaron a watch that belonged to his father, which contained vervain in order to protect the wearer from compulsion, and informed Aaron of the truth of his family's death and legacy. When he asked Aaron to join him, Aaron became furious that he was lied to for all these years and punched Wes in the face, which knocked him unconscious.
In Fifty Shades of Grayson, Wes began to experiment on Elena. He then sent the Augustiine Vampire to subdue Damon and Stefan, who were holding Aaron hostage to exchange for Elena. As he began to experiment on Elena, Wes revealed some startling revelations: first, that Megan was killed by the Augustine Vampire, Enzo, and Wes covered it up to protect Augustine, and second, that Wes' introduction to experimenting on vampires came from Grayson Gilbert. Wes prepared to inject his "Augustine Vampire compound" into Elena and revealed it to be the cause of Jesse's undoing: the compound causes vampires to crave vampire blood over human blood in order to protect humans and eventually lead to the destruction of the vampire series. Stefan finally arrived to rescue Elena, and he ultimately knocked Wes out in order to get her out of there. When Aaron returned and learned what Wes had done, including risking Aaron's life by sending Enzo after the Salvatores, he became even more angry, but when Wes tried to apologize, Aaron punched him in the face for selling him out.
Wes didn't appear in The Devil Inside, but Aaron mentioned to Caroline that he cut of Wes' funding so that Wes could no longer continue experimenting on innocent vampires.In Total Eclipse of the Heart, Wes was revealed to have moved into abandoned warehouses to continue his research underground, under poor conditions and with few financial prospects. He had turned a Whitmore University employee into a vampire so he could continue experimenting, and started working on recreating his "Ripper serum" to create more Augustine vampires. He was in the middle of his research when he was approached by Sloan, who informed him that Aaron was dead and that he was in danger, and who offered to sponsor him in exchange for studying some blood samples she had taken. At the end of the episode, Damon and Enzo have finally tracked him down to kill him, but Wes was waiting for them with the Travelers, who incapacitate them long enough for Wes to inject Damon with the "Ripper serum," turning him into an Augustine vampire.
In No Exit, Wes and the Travelers tracked down Enzo and Damon after the two had set off in order to seek out people to turn into vampires so Damon could feed on them. They found the two at a farmhouse where Damon had just drained the blood of a newborn vampire, and Wes instructed the Travelers to cast a boundary spell so that Damon and Enzo were unable to leave, knowing that Damon would need to feed every eight hours or risk losing control and feeding on Enzo. As expected, once their eight hours were closing in, Wes shot Enzo from outside, and the smell of Enzo's blood caused Damon to break free from his chains and uncontrollably feed on him. The Travelers, under Wes' instruction, cast a spell that acidified Enzo's blood enough to stop Damon from killing him, and Wes gave Enzo the choice to stay and risk being killed by Damon, or leave with him and do one last favor for Wes before getting his freedom. After being convinced to leave by Damon, Enzo reluctantly left with Wes and the Travelers, leaving Damon trapped in the house until he was rescued by Elena and Stefan.
In Gone Girl, Wes received a call from Katherine, who explained that her daughter Nadia had been bitten by a hybrid. She asked him if he could take a sample of her blood and create an antidote for the werewolf venom, and he agreed to come and help her. When Wes arrived at the warehouse they were hiding in to take her blood, Nadia was immediately afraid of him, but Wes claimed he was there to help them. Though Wes said he would help them create a cure, it was later revealed that Wes had only said that in order to get access to the werewolf venom in Nadia's blood, which he wished to use to create a more lethal version of his Ripper serum that would cause the Enhanced Ripper to become even more rabid with bloodlust. When he had finally created this enhanced Ripper serum, he had just put the syringe away when he heard a noise and turned around to find Damon, still under the influence of the original Ripper serum, demanding a cure for it. When Wes refused and insisted that curing Damon wouldn't change the fact that he was a monster, Damon lost his temper completely and slammed Wes down on his exam table before shoving his fist into Wes' abdomen. He then insisted that it was his turn to play doctor, and picked up a scalpel so he could experiment on Wes like he was experimented on during his years as an Augustine vampire, eventually killing Wes after being tortured to death.
Later on, Katherine came to the warehouse to check on Wes' progress on the cure, only to find Wes's mutilated body and his last audio recording of his research, which explained that he had created an even more potent version of the Ripper serum that included the werewolf venom he extracted from Nadia's blood. Realizing that Nadia was going to die from her hybrid bite and that the Mystic Falls Gang would certainly be coming after her for taking possession of Elena's body, she decided to get her last revenge by injecting Elena's body with the werewolf-venom-laced Ripper serum, ensuring that Elena would be stuck with the consequences now that Wes was dead and unable to make a cure.
While generally described as brilliant by his students at Whitmore College, Wes often came off as arrogant when it came to his knowledge of microbiology and medicine. He was also somewhat of a disciplinarian, as he thoroughly embarrassed both Caroline Forbes and Elena Gilbert when they tried to sneak into his class as college freshmen. Wes was also shown to be very observant, as he knew Aaron was drinking just by walking past him and took his keys and gave him money for a cab.
Despite his personality, he did show some genuine concern for Aaron. However, he was willing to lie in order to protect Aaron from the supernatural. After Aaron's death, Wes displayed a more fearless side of himself, and even spoke defiantly against Damon despite knowing that the vampire could kill him at any moment (which he ultimately did.) Maxfield also showed characteristics of a mad scientist, as he claimed to be doing his research in order to protect the human race, but was perfectly okay with killing and turning innocent humans in order to experiment on them to create his Ripper serum and force them to feed on other vampires. Being a scientist, he did not create anything that he had no means of controlling, and ensured that had security precautions in place in case his work put him in danger. He also initially viewed the use of magic as a "cheat," though he became much more open to using it after he lost his research funding.
Wes was a pale, blonde man with blue eyes who looked to be in his mid-30's. He usually dressed in a preppy manner due to his occupation as a teacher, wearing lots of collared shirts, sweaters, and ties.
- True Lies
- For Whom the Bell Tolls
- Monster's Ball
- Handle with Care
- Death and the Maiden
- Dead Man on Campus
- The Cell
- Fifty Shades of Grayson
- Total Eclipse of the Heart
- No Exit
- Gone Girl
- While You Were Sleeping (voice)
Wes is a variant of Wesley (Old English), and the meaning of Wes is "western meadow".
- Wes was an antagonist in Season Five.
- In True Lies, Jesse tells Elena that there is a rumor that Wes is a member of a 'secret society' at Whitmore College, which was eventually revealed to be an analogue to the Founder's Council. It was later revealed that Wes is a member of Augustine, a society that had existed at Whitmore at least since the 1940s.
- In For Whom the Bell Tolls, Wes found out that someone had fed Jesse vampire blood, and he injected him with a medication that caused his heart to stop, killing him and turning him into a vampire on whom he could experiment.
- In Monster's Ball, Wes hinted that he knew that Elena is a vampire, and warned her that she should drop out and move back to Mystic Falls.
- It was revealed in The Cell and Fifty Shades Of Grayson that Wes knew and worked with Elena's father while conducting vampire experiments for Augustine.
- Wes wished to turn Elena into a vampire blood craving Ripper with a compound he created, though he ended up using it on Damon instead.
- In Gone Girl, he created a werewolf venom enhanced Ripper serum using Nadia's blood, which Katherine ultimately used on Elena.
- Wes was one of only seven recurring characters who appeared in more than ten episodes in their inaugural season. The other six were Annabelle, who appeared in eleven episodes during Season One; Elijah Mikaelson, who appeared in twelve episodes during Season Two; Rebekah Mikaelson, who appeared in seventeen episodes during Season Three, Atticus Shane, who appeared in eleven episodes during Season Four, and Nadia Petrova & Enzo, who both appeared in twelve episodes each in Season Five.
- Wes was the only major recurring character to have met or had scenes with the other two major recurring characters of this season (Nadia and Enzo).
- Wes was also the only one among them who was human, since both Nadia and Enzo are vampires.
- Wes became the legal guardian of Aaron after all of Aaron's biological family members had been killed off by Damon in retaliation for the torture the Whitmore Family inflicted upon him while he was held captive by Augustine.
- He shared many similarities with both Ethan Crane and Jack from the novels.
- Wes was the second main human antagonist who had survived over a story arc. The first was Atticus Shane, who also taught at Whitmore College.
- Damon liked to make doctor-related pop culture references when speaking to or about Wes:
- Damon refered to him as Doogie, the name of the main character of Doogie Howser, M.D.
- Damon called him Dr. Frankenstein, the famous mad scientist from the novel Fraknenstein.
- When confronting him, Damon asked, "What's up, Doc?" which is a famous Bugs Bunny line.
- An MD-PhD is a dual doctoral degree that requires 7-8 years of post-graduate study, which is 3-4 years longer than it takes someone to earn an MD alone. MD-PhD programs however, covers all tuition, provide students with a stipend, and cover their health insurance, allowing them to have financial equality with MDs who earn full clinical salary sooner but have to pay off large amounts of student loan debt.
- Wes managed to team up with the Travelers to take down Damon and Enzo.